Plasma GH, IGF-I, and conception rate in cattle treated with low doses of recombinant bovine GH

C. R. Bilby, J. F. Bader, B. E. Salfen, R. S. Youngquist, C. N. Murphy, H. A. Garverick, B. A. Crooker, M. C. Lucy

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45 Scopus citations


Blood and uterine concentrations of GH and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I are correlated with improved fertility in cattle. We tested incremental doses of a 14-d sustained release recombinant bovine GH (rbGH) to increase blood GH and IGF-I (Experiments 1 and 2). Conception rate after administration of an optimized rbGH dose was also tested (Experiment 3). In Experiment 1, lactating Holstein cows (n = 18) were randomly assigned to receive 0 (n = 5), 100 (n = 5), 200 (n = 5), or 500 (n = 3) mg sc rbGH. Increasing the doses of rbGH was associated with increased serum concentrations of GH and IGF-I. The 100- and 200-mg doses caused an IGF-I release that was below and above, respectively, the perceived optimum response. Therefore, Experiment 2 was designed to test a rbGH dose (167 mg), which was intermediate to the doses tested in Experiment 1. Lactating and nonlactating postpartum beef cows were treated with 0 (n = 9) or 167 (n = 9) mg rbGH at insemination. Plasma concentrations of GH and IGF-I were greater in rbGH-treated cows than in controls. Lactating cows had initial IGF-I concentrations that were lower than nonlactating cows. The 167-mg dose of rbGH increased plasma IGF-I concentrations in lactating cows to the levels of those of nonlactating cows. In Experiment 3, cows and heifers were administered either 0 or 167 mg rbGH at insemination. The conception rate for rbGH-treated and control cows was 54.4 and 49.5% (n = 617), and 46.0 and 46.3% for heifers (n = 1123), respectively. Herd (P < 0.01) and parity (P < 0.01) affected conception rate, but conception rates for rbGH and control cattle were similar. In summary, low doses of rbGH increased blood GH and restored blood IGF-I concentrations in lactating cows to those of nonlactating cows, but the conception rate in cows and heifers was not affected by administration of 14-d sustained-release rbGH at insemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1285-1296
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 1 1999


  • GH
  • IGF-I
  • Reproduction


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